We spent two nights in Mexicali, visiting the various government buildings, cultural centers and continuing to fix up our living conditions in the bus.
Mexicali is the capital of Baja, has a population around a million people, and seems like a city busy with bureaucracy and industry. It is a modernized city on the border with the USA, has many important agricultural and industrial centers, but not much for typical tourism. The area was long inhabited by the native Cocopah people who still inhabit a small government-protected area near the Colorado River delta. Spanish expeditions across the Colorado Desert in the late 1700s opened the Sonora Road, which the Jesuits used to establish a mission in what is now Fort Yuma. After a revolt by the Quechuan (or Yuma) people in 1781, the Spanish abandoned the area. In the 1820s, the Mexican authorities reopened the Sonora Road, restored relations with the Quechuan natives, and the trade route was established for American fur trappers, gold seekers during the Gold Rush, and a U.S. Mail and Stagecoach route by 1857. Modern development of the area began with a deal between the government of Diaz and the California Development Company in the early 1900s, cutting a channel, irrigating the valley, and settling farmers.
On Saturday Oscar and Will spent a good chunk of their time working on getting the solar panels on the top of bus hooked up. There was a lot of climbing onto things and crawling into tight spaces involved. We successfully hooked a voltage inverter to the five 140-Watt flexible solar panels on the roof, with 4 deep cycle batteries, powering our freezer, LED lights, and outlets for electronics. Now we’re riding in style!
During the day we watched an incredible amount of foot traffic headed in one direction and decided to check it out when we finished this project. It was a large tent-covered area hosting a weekend market. The market was mostly shops of used electronics, budget clothing, and DVDs, but you could also get haircuts and food. Will got a “Agua de Jamaica”, which is a sweet and aromatic juice made out of the Hibiscus flowers with added sugar, lime, and ginger. Nicole and Oscar were not impressed by its floral flavors.
To be continued….